1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · Events

Off Human Nature

Seminar   06.03.2008






Prof Jonathan Marks, Department of Anthropology, UNC-Charlotte

Organised by



University of Exeter,Egenis, Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ

Room no: GF7, Byrne House

Event details

Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Although a belief in “human nature” is commonly taken as part of a Darwinian credo, it reflects a train of thought that is largely independent of Darwin. Further, if “human nature” is predicated upon the analytic separation of the “natural “ from the “cultural,” then the idea of “human nature” is out-of-step with modern understandings of human evolution. Human evolution, and modern human existence, are constituted as bio-cultural facts, and it is epistemologically very difficult, if not impossible, to disentangle presumptive aspects of “human nature” from “culture”. Culture permeates “human nature” in two ways: historically, as constituting the environment to which humans have had to adapt (e.g., two million years of technology; sickle-cell as a response to malaria, which was in turn brought on by small-scale irrigation over the last 10,000 years), and developmentally, as providing the context (social, emotional, technological, organic) in which an individual human being develops. Consequently, “human nature” represents an archaic discourse in anthropology. (And the idea that it would exemplify modern thought in biology is a bit weird.)

Further details